Monday, May 26, 2014


What's the point of a bandwagon if you can't jump on one at least once in your life. Or twice, because let's be real; of course I wear yoga pants when I'm not actually doing yoga. But what I'm really talking about are the Midori travelling journals. Ever since the moment I first saw my friend's new Midori, I was obsessed. And broke. There was no way I could afford the hefty price tag of an authentic Midori. So I made my own; I call it the Angi-dori. And I can show you how. But first, I'll geek out and show you how I am using mine.

I love this Raven pendant! Initially when I made this book it had a thinner band holding it together, but I have since upgraded to this thicker elastic band.
Look at all the geeky stuff in here!

Pockets, pockets and more pockets! I have stashed business cards, business post cards, stickers, and scratch pads and so much more. A bull clip makes a clever pen clip.
A photo album for my favorite photos of my boys.

I can't tell you how many times I've stood in the paint aisles at my local art supply store looking for a substitute paint because my favorite brand is out of stock, only to get home and the color is all wrong. I created this book from acrylic paper to hold all my paint samples from various manufacturers.
I couldn't function without a book of lists. I pretty much have a list for everything in here, from art show deadlines, paintings to do, things to print, to canvases and cradles in stock in my studio. Lists are my secret weapon to staying organized and keeping my time managed.

And finally, some stress release. Some people meditate when they are stressed out. I color super heroes. True story! I made this little notebook so I could sketch out and color pin up girls and super heroes.
Want to make your own?
Start with a nice piece of leather that is a good 2-3mm thick.
 Cut it to the size you want (I chose 8" x 12") and mark for holes: two in the top and two in the bottom. I kept my holes about 1/4" in from the edge and apart from each other. You can also punch a hole in the center of the back for your band. I used a leather punch for this but you could just as easily use a hammer and small nail.
Thread your elastic cord through the holes and secure with a knot. It should look something like this when you are done.

Now it's time for the fun part. Making your inserts. I chose to make a photo album, 2 six- pocket folders, and 3 notebooks.
Each 6 pocket folder is created from one file folder. It's all in how you fold it and tape it.
Four pockets on the outside...
and two pockets on the inside. You can even add small envelopes for increased storage. I made two of these folders for a total of 12 pockets and three storage envelopes for my book. Labels keep the pockets organized.
To make my photo album, I simply folded a plastic page protector in half, trimmed off the excess and taped the open end closed.
Lastly, it's time for some simple bookbinding.  I made three.
I chose a selection of wax batik papers because of how durable they are (and also I've been hoarding them).
Next, choose your book papers. I made booklets from graph paper, sketch pad papers, and acrylic paper. Fold a sheaf of paper in half and cut down to the size you want. My finished booklets were 5.5"  x 7.5" so I simply folded standard 8.5" x 11" sized paper in half and trimmed the height down to 7.5". Do the same for the booklet covers. Lay the signature of paper flat and mark three holes down the center spine. Punch holes using an awl or hammer and nail. Tip: use bull clips to hold your book signatures together while you are working with them.
Using a needle and waxed thread (or wax your own), sew the signature and cover together, Tie a knot on the inside.
Slide your folders and booklets into the elastic bands in your leather notebook cover. I've kept my instructions to the bare minimum because there are dozens of terrific tutorials on you-tube and pinterest that show you how to make midori style covers, folded inserts as well as how to load up to 6 books in to your notebook.
If you are wanting to make your own, here is a list of supplies I used to create mine:
leather (3mm thick) 8" x 12"
black elastic cord
leather punch (or hammer and small nail)
2 file folders
various envelopes and stickers
invisible tape
clear plastic page protector
decorative papers
acrylic or watercolor paper
lined or grid paper
sketch pad paper
waxed thread
paper awl (or hammer and small nail)
sewing needle
Don't forget your studio muse!



Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bringing Home Frankie

"I can scarcely wait til tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.
Stanley Kunitz
When I read this poem I am always reminded of the day I brought Frankie home. Nine years ago I came face to face with an ex-puppy mill mutt on death row. Status: unadoptable.  She was shaking with fear, barking hysterically, and aggressive with other dogs. I took her home anyways. Partly because she was cute and mostly because she sat on my feet and convinced me she was my soul mate.
Every day I massaged her tense body and told her that I would be good to her and she would be good to me. Nine years later I wouldn't dream of going to my studio without her. She has kept me company all these years and worked tirelessly as my muse and model for dozens of paintings.
"Party Girl"
9" x 9"
mixed media on wood


Thursday, May 1, 2014

An Introverted Garden: Spring

I spent a lovely morning having coffee with my mom and a mutual friend of ours when the conversation turned toward health: physical, mental, and spiritual. We all agreed that we spend too much time on information overload. We write blogs, we read blogs, we research everything we need to know, and a lot of stuff we don't, on the Internet and pin thousands of images we just can't stand to lose track of. I was exhausted just talking about it.

When I got home I headed straight out to my garden for the day. I was all alone except for my Frankie Dog, and I usually let her do all the talking. She doesn't say much except the odd, "Rub my belly, would ya?" What I love about my garden is how well it suits my personality. Just as the Japanese Maples are making tentative unfurlings of their leaves, hoping winter is over, I too am tentatively putting down my knitting needles and checking the temperature outside. Don't rush me, I always think. I'm not ready yet.

And then by mid April, something wonderful happens. My equally shy Japanese Anenome Nemerosa decide to show up. Like me, they don't stay for long. Just when the party is getting started, they will recede for the year, leaving behind the raucous laughter of the livelier party goers; the bold hot pink peonies, the cobalt blue hydrangeas and the drunken table top dancing dahlias. I will forgive my Anemone Nemerosa for leaving early, the same way my friends forgive me. We are introverts. And when I see them again next spring I'll tell them they were worth the wait.
 Mounds of my beloved Japanese Anenome Nemerosa
spread beneath several varieties of Japanese Maples throughout my garden.
I'm always looking for a quiet place to sit,
and my favorite garden helpers are usually taking a break in the shade.